Ratatat turn The Regency Ballroom into a multi-instrumental dance party

RatatatPhotos by James Nagel // Written by Brett Ruffenach //

Ratatat with Despot //
The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco
August 3rd, 2015 //

Waiting in line to enter The Regency Ballroom, I heard one Ratatat fan say, “Kind of weird it’s not Friday … sure feels like it.”

In a way, this summed up what the evening had in store for us. Due to an unfortunate logistics issue, Ratatat were not able to make their scheduled Friday night show last weekend but managed to quickly recover and put on a performance that certainly felt like a Friday night for a sold-out crowd.

As the duo took the stage, guitarist Mike Stroud began with a glimmering guitar riff to open “Pricks of Brightness”. Evan Mast joined in on bass to along with their familiar thumping, drum-machine rhythms, and the most exciting element of their live show was revealed — at both ends of the stage were two thick, plexiglass displays behind which objects were projected, creating a stunning 3D effect. The projection technique combined with the duo’s anything-but-lacking light and laser production created a thrilling show that perfectly accompanied Ratatat’s crunchy, high-energy electronic tracks.


Thoroughly covering their entire catalog and diving into older tracks like “Loud Pipes” and “Kennedy”, one particularly exciting part of Ratatat’s production is their ability to change up what’s being produced live. Earlier in their set when playing “Grape Juice City”, Stroud manned both a small melodica and his guitar while Mast filled the room with textured percussion and a groovy bass line. With its shimmering chords and foot-stomping beat, “Falcon Jab” was among the most high-energy moments of the night. In the eyes of the crowd, these two could do no wrong — between each track, there was nothing but roaring applause for them.

Ratatat are particularly great at keeping your attention. With nothing more than the occasional “thank-you” in between songs, the band moves quickly from track to track. One notable highlight was near the end of their set when a slide guitar was used as the lights were dimmed, which turned out to be an excellent choice — the slide guitar is a beautiful extension of Ratatat’s sound. Transitioning into the final tracks of the set with “Supreme”, Ratatat showed that they are not limited to one style.

Closing the set with “Seventeen Years” — a track, which to no one’s surprise, everyone went crazy for — served as a nice way to show that Ratatat have always been true to their sound, even now as they approach the 15-year mark. Near the end of the song, Stroud even threw in a small “Aerodynamic”-esque homage that served as a nice touch considering the ever-present influence of Daft Punk in the group’s music.


The pair left the stage briefly only to come out for a two-song encore, closing with nothing but Ratatat’s adrenaline-fueled, slot-machine dance party known as “Shempi”. As a huge fan of this track, I was immensely satisfied with their choice to close the show with this song.

As we all left the insanely hot and sweaty venue, a sense of amazement pulsed through the crowd only to realize that, though Ratatat made it feel like it was, it certainly was not a Friday, and we all got work tomorrow.

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